Roxanne Godinez is working through stacks of paperwork as the end of the school year draws near. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Godinez, Nesloney, De Leon say they plan to remain teachers

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

For three first-year Alice ISD teachers, May is the end of a long road. The books are put away, for the most part, and the state testing is complete.

The teachers now have time to reflect on the past year.

"I'd say the year went exceptionally well overall," Alice High School English teacher Roxanne Godinez said. "It was surprising."

Although she said she doesn't feel too different from the teacher who started at the beginning of the year, Godinez said she's learned to deal with problems better and, since getting to know her students, has found it easier to get across to them.

Through a year of learning and effort, she has made a connection with her students and their families, she said. She definitely sees herself staying in the profession.

"My students did very well on the TAKS. I had nine freshmen make commended, and I'm very proud of all my students," she said. "I had one class where, for the ones in attendance, 100 percent of the class passed the test. The day I got our scores, that made my day."

Klaire De Leon seemed just as confident the last week as she did the first week.

"Not too much really changed. I've made some adjustments as needed, but I've tried to stay the same as far as attitude and outlook towards teaching," De Leon said.

Her second semester at Noonan was an exciting time, both with the demands of her class and her wedding. But De Leon said she was lucky in the fact that she had family to help her plan, and students who were very supportive.

Overall, she feels she did well this first year, and she's proud of her students' accomplishments.

"We did well. It took a lot of hard work, but I'm very excited about it," she said, in reference to her students' performance on the TAKS. She plans on continuing at Noonan Elementary.

For De Leon, every day brought on unexpected challenges. She never knew what exactly the next day would bring, and that was part of her attraction to the profession since the beginning.

"Most established teachers have their procedures in place, they know what works and what doesn't. I guess that will come into place with more years of experience," she said.

"I enjoy going to school every day, not knowing what will happen. It's always different. I think this profession is a good choice. People should expect to do hard work. It isn't 8-to-4 and off on weekends. They should expect to do hard work and be dedicated all the time. It's the most rewarding job I can think of."

For Kristin Nesloney, this first year was a time to develop her patience, and what she calls her "mean teacher voice."

Her voice is naturally high, but as the year progressed, Nesloney learned that leading a class often takes a stern voice to start with.

"The further along I went in the school year, the more I knew I had to do something, so I worked on my mean voice," Nesloney said. "In the end, the students would say, 'Miss., you sound like my mom,' and I thought, 'it's working, it's working.'"

Although she will be moving to Corpus Christi next year, Nesloney said she valued the experience she had her first year at Memorial Intermediate School, and she said that based on her experience, she has a strong desire to stay in the profession.

"I'm just so much more aware now of cultural diversity, and of different learning styles," she said. "I still want to be a teacher, but I'm looking to make a move to the elementary level. They're still kids at that age and not in the middle of being teens. They're easily motivated and excited by learning and excited by stickers.

"This is definitely a wonderful profession," Nesloney continued. "When your kids finally master a topic and they get so excited because they got it - to see that, their excitement about learning something, it makes it all worthwhile. Having 60 kids learn something, and being excited by it, it's very rewarding."